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Auscultation

Definition

Auscultation is the method of listening to the sounds of the body during a physical examination.

Information

Auscultation is usually done using a tool called a stethoscope. Health care providers routinely listen to a patient's lungs, heart, and intestines to evaluate the frequency, intensity, duration, number, and quality of sounds.

Health care providers also use auscultation to listen to the heart sounds of unborn infants. This can be performed with a stethoscope or with sound waves (called Doppler ultrasound). It can also be used to hear pulses in the arms and legs.

References

Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 50.


Review Date: 4/18/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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